Reviewing ‘But What If We’re Wrong?’

I’m chronicalling my way through Chuck Klosterman’s newest work, ‘But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About The Present As If It Were The Past’.

Check back occasionally for my thoughts on the book, one of the most original pieces on modern socialism in recent history.

Reach me by email me at with questions or comments.

July 7, 2016 — Klosterman does not want ‘But What If We’re Wrong’ to be read as a collection of essays. He makes that pretty clear in his dedication, and so far it’s an intriguing look at the evolution of the theory of gravity. Klosterman takes care to note that Aristotle’s original assumption was generally accepted for over 2,000 years, while Isaac Newton’s theory has only existed for 350-or-so years. What’s wrong with that? Nothing except Newton’s laws are so widely assumed to be true that any prospect of new, perhaps contradicting future evidence is all but considered laughable.

July 10 — ‘BWIWW’ wants to know the unknowable, like what facts will come to light in the future that will change said future? And is it even possible to make an accurate prediction about what the future will be like? The answers are ‘There’s little way of knowing,’ and ‘It’s not.’ The author illustrates how experts did not predict, as late as the 1980s, the proliferation of mobile phone technology. Most people polled thought land-line phone calling was here to stay, so how can we possibly think we know more about the future now then we did then?


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Surprise! Nobody wants to talk

I covered the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana (Calif.), March 18-20, 2016, and had an idea for an opinion piece.

It was a very good idea, based upon current events which would garner the interest of a much larger audience. It could be a potentially important piece, if properly sourced. The kind of piece that would have raised some eyebrows.

But nobody wanted to talk. Why? The topic is something of a third rail.

I wanted to write the sampled opinions of average NASCAR fans about the circuit’s president, Brian France, and Sprint Cup Series driver Chase Elliott’s endorsement of likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

My colleague and I asked the young and old, tattooed and bearded of both genders about what they thought of France’s political statement.

Quite honestly, we got a lot of “I’m for Trump, too!”-type sentiment.

France’s endorsement clearly tapped into a vein of NASCAR fandom that is pleased.

We also saw a lot of people unwilling to talk. They’d say, “I’m not talking about that,” or “Why are you asking me that?” I interpreted these responses as what amounts to anti-Trump sentiment at a West Coast NASCAR event.

So of the 20 people we spoke to, 12 people didn’t want to talk, seven were pro-Trump in their responses, and one had never heard of Donald Trump (it’s true).

People were not happy to have been asked these questions, either. The overall response was negative.

What to do then?

We scraped it. There was just too little to go on.

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Another Brush With Greatness

I’ve met my share of TV stars, rock band heroes and pro athletes. It’s exhilarating and rarely normal. Which makes a most recent brush with greatness all the more “new.”

Leigh Steinberg requested to follow me on LinkedIn, and today I accepted.

Steinberg is the sports agent of sports agents. Literally, Jerry Maguire. And he wants to follow me!

Note: I checked it out and it’s legit. The account is solid, and I’m sure he has a social media team working hard to find hard-working folk like yours truly.

Conjecture aside, it’s pretty humbling. Steinberg is well educated and well connected. He’s a California guy, Berkeley grad, and lives in the O.C. from where he has established his foundation.

His credentials in pro sports are unmatched — especially in the National Football League — and he’s spent his fortune with philanthropic purpose.

I’d love to pick his brain but should probably read his books first. Then maybe I’ll click that “send message” tab and fire off a detailed missive.

Wow. Leigh Steinberg. Just a click away.

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One Little League Memory

I thought about an old baseball story of mine for some reason. Actually, it’s among the best Little League memories I still have.

(Disclaimer: After the age of 10, my best baseball was played on defense.)

In the only game I ever played as a right fielder I threw out a runner attempting to go first-to-third on a routine single.

Was there a scout in the bleachers? I’ll never really know.

I was 12 or 13 years old and played third base, shortstop and first base for the Arlington Little League (Riverside, Ca.) Senior Minor Giants. We finished around .500 that season, and had all switched defensive positions because it was the last game of the season.

The coach — this snooty guy in his 40s — wanted to mix it up.

Anyway, I stood in right field getting only an easy fly ball until late in the game when our opponents put a runner on first and followed with a single through the right side.

Focused on a getting a clean roll into my glove I didn’t think much about any potential throw. I scooped and retrieved the ball from my glove, looked up to find their runner rounding second base.

My instinct was already telling me “Hit the cutoff!” when I remember really reeling back.

It wasn’t a dart. More of a guided missile. It took one bounce before our third baseman (Bob? Bobby?) grabbed it and applied a clean tag. I remember the play ended an inning.

Or did it? Did any of this really happen? It 20-plus years ago. Is this memory, so vivid in my mind, a concoction of amalgam’ed Little League events from my childhood?

I remember a lot. I’d like to think this is one of those memories as sharp as any other — Spring of 1992 or ’93; Just a year or two before high school; Awkward but totally awesome! — but I honestly cannot say.

I like this memory, though. It’s a positive reminder, one that proves teamwork trumps talent. Even if it was a picturesque throw.

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NAASA95’s Epic First Cup Final

The first season of North American Adult Soccer Association-Riverside came to a close Sunday night with the NAASA95 Cup final at Ab Brown Soccer Complex.

And if you play for Inland FC, as I do, today is not the best ever.

We lost, 1-0, to Riverside Madrid on goal I allowed midway through the second half.

From a goalkeeper’s perspective, it sucks. I know I played out-of-my-mind and it still wasn’t enough to get the job done. I finished with six or seven saves — some of them critical — but all I can think about is how I reacted slowly in my dive attempt; That the ball was out of my reach before I was even at full stretch, and how I watched it rattle the netting in the back of the goal.

The harder part to assess are the other aspects of the game (like all of the play which happened on the other end of the field) but we were stout in defense and I’m proud that we allowed just one goal in each of our two postseason games.

We had our chances to score vs. Madrid — mostly in the first half — but we lost the middle of the field in the second half and were forced to repel attack after attack.

While the loss is sure to linger through the winter, there are several data worth noting for me.

I finished the season as the only Inland FC player to be on the field for every minute of every game. That’s more than 1,110 minutes, and it means I’ve now started and finished 27 consecutive games for my club dating back three seasons.

Overall, I allowed 22 goals in nine regular-season NAASA95 games*, finished with a 2.44 goals-against average, and even had one assist.

It was a memorable campaign and would not have been so without the efforts of my teammates (in alphabetical order): Daniel Arreaga, Ranjit Chahal, Alvaro Contreras, Leon Enderica, Sherif Fathy, Adrian Garcia, Hector Garcia, Aaron Lambert, Eric Lambert, Ryan Leonard, Hugo Oliveros, Juan Otero, Rene Perez, Cesar Reynoso, Kwaku Sarpong-Agyeman and Fabian Sythoff.

Each played integral roles, and contributed to the betterment of the league. Our quality forced the other teams to sign better players, which in turn gave the league the epic final it needed.

Now to use it as a springboard into next season…

* — Inland FC’s had one game cancelled after thieves stole essential components (copper wiring) to the lights at Ab Brown Soccer Complex.

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NAASA95 Off To Competitive Start

NAASA95 got its unofficial start on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, with an exhibition match pitting Inland FC vs. Riverside’s Best at A.B. Brown Soccer Complex in Riverside (Calif.).

NAASA, the North American Adult Soccer Association, is a nationwide set of leagues sanctioned by USSF and plays under FIFA Laws. Riverside’s new startup, the Pete King Memorial Soccer League, features four divisions of men’s and women’s soccer.

I’m in my fifth season with Inland FC, which previously played in the Riverside Adult Soccer League before switching to start the Fall 2013 season.

On Sunday, I started my 16th game at goalkeeper for IFC and provided the league with many of its firsts.

I allowed the first goal.

I made the first save.

I allowed the second goal, and the third, but then something happened.

We got one back. Daniel Arreaga scored on a pass from Ranjit “Bolo” Chahal and we all picked our heads up for a minute.

But it was only a minute as our tired defense was broken down again, and Juan Otero was called for a foul in the penalty area to set up the league’s first ever penalty kick.

Moment of truth for both the kicker and the goalkeeper.

My initial thought was to dive right. He was a confident player who had already scored and I was not going to let him beat me to my strong side. Before he struck the ball, however, I noticed his body tilt as he approached and quickly dove to my left where I stopped his shot before punching it away.

I had already made five saves in the game to that point but it was by far the most important. We took possession of the ball and went down the other end and scored.

It was the pivotal moment in the game, and for me the first time I’ve stopped a penalty kick in my career. (I cannot remember every time, but I’ve probably whiffed three or four previous attempts.) I was breathing heavily after the fact, and probably needed the adrenaline because I had to react again less than two minutes later when I came off my line to defend a 1-on-1. I stopped the shot and smothered the rebound before releasing a timely outlet pass that led to the game-tying goal.

With all players feeling the heat — relative and actual (100-degree temps by the final whistle) — there was a decision to finish the game in with “golden-goal” or last-goal-wins scenario.

Fortunately, we have “Bolo” playing for our side. Chahal calmly tapped in the game-winner to give Inland FC a 4-3 victory in the league’s first-ever game.

It was a game of many firsts — not lost among them “Bolo’s” first two-goal effort — and one that will go down as NAASA95’s Inaugural Friendly.

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September 9, 2013 · 10:28 AM

Klinsmann Would Have To Be A Fool

Landon Donovan’s return to LA Galaxy has me thinking …

1. If the two-time MLS champions can win games without him (not to mention Becks and even Keane) then he left the team at the right time. Galaxy’s 2-0-1 record and advancement into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals attest to that.

2. If this is indeed his last year at Galaxy — his four-year contract expires after this season — then it becomes obvious why he didn’t retire: the opportunity to cement his legacy as the best player in U.S. history with a third consecutive domestic title.

3. If he’s rested and engaged mentally then Jurgen Klinsmann would have to be a fool not to pencil in a new No. 10 0n the right side. The USMNT is scoring too few, and Graham Zusi is nice, but c’mon. The World Cup is next year (already!) and the team’s top play-maker is healthy.

4. Anyone who says he abandoned either club or country is off their nut and/or a rabid fan of El Tri, and taking cheap shots out of spite. Or… or… secretly missing their favorite player.

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